You are not powerless in the face of cancer, even if you have a family history of the disease. Approximately 40% of malignancies can be avoided by changing one's lifestyle.
In reality, there are a number of ways to reduce your cancer risk throughout the course of your life. Some are simple, like obtaining suggested health tests. Others, such as maintaining a healthy body weight, fitting in regular exercises, or altering your diet, maybe more difficult. However, even tiny steps toward using the techniques listed below can help preserve your health in the long run.
1. Eat a healthier diet
Eating a diet that is mostly plant-based, low in red and processed meats, and low in added sugars lower your risk of cancer. Both stress unsaturated fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and legumes, and are low in processed foods.
2. Be cautious of what you consume.
Another component of nutrition that individuals often overlook is limiting alcohol use. Alcohol intake has been related to a variety of malignancies, particularly among heavy drinkers, according to research. Even individuals who only have one or two drinks each day aren't immune.
Recent findings show that even modest to moderate alcohol use is connected with an elevated risk of various malignancies, including oesophagal cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. It may be difficult to give up a regular drink if you love it. However, reducing your consumption is something to think about. A drink once or twice a month is unlikely to increase your cancer risk.
Is there a cancer danger in your house that you're not aware of?
It's possible that a lung cancer hazard is hiding in your house. Radon is a colourless, odourless gas that seeps into homes through the soil and rocks beneath the foundation. Chronic radon exposure, after cigarette smoking, is the second greatest cause of lung cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, one in every 15 residences has high radon levels (classified as 4 picocuries per litre or more). If you go to your local hardware shop, you may get a simple test kit that will tell you if your house is one of them. If radon levels are found to be high, call a professional who can assist you in resolving the issue by sealing gaps that enable radon to enter or improving airflow to keep gas levels low.
3. Get cancer screenings if they're suggested.
While certain screening procedures, such as mammograms, are intended to detect malignancies early when they are most curable, others can actually prevent cancer. A colonoscopy, for example, can detect precancerous polyps and remove them before they cause harm. The same may be said for the Pap and HPV (human papillomavirus) tests, which can detect abnormalities in the cervix and vaginal area before they turn into malignancies.
Consider obtaining a one-time hepatitis C test, which the United States Preventive Services Task Force now advises for all individuals aged 18 to 79. This viral infection, if left untreated, can lead to liver damage and malignancy. According to a 2012 study published in Gastroenterology, effective hepatitis C therapy can lower your risk of liver cancer by up to 75%.
4. Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI).
Obesity has been associated with a number of cancers, including postmenopausal breast cancer, ovarian, endometrial, and kidney cancer. Obesity raises the risk in a variety of ways. Insulin resistance is a condition in which your cells do not respond well to insulin (the hormone that helps your body turn glucose into energy). Blood sugar and insulin levels rise as a result of this dysfunction, which can encourage tumour development. Obesity also promotes chronic inflammation in the body and elevates estrogen and other sex hormone levels in the blood, which increases the risk of some malignancies.
5. Exercise on a regular basis
Regular physical exercise can lower cancer risk through a variety of methods. For starters, it aids with weight loss. Exercise can also help to regulate sex hormones and inflammation, both of which can contribute to the development of some cancers. Finally, physical activity is beneficial for stress reduction. The hormones released by the body's stress reaction may make you more susceptible to cancer. Each week, try to get in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 to 150 minutes of intense exercise.
Vaccinate yourself against cancer.
A few vaccinations can help you avoid getting cancer. One is the hepatitis B vaccine, which is a viral liver infection that can lead to liver disease and cancer. Some patients with hepatitis B will get unwell for a few weeks before recovering. Others, on the other hand, have a chronic illness that poses long-term health concerns. Infection is very dangerous for healthcare employees.
If you have teenagers or young adults in your life, they should consider getting the HPV vaccination, which protects against a variety of cancers caused by the human papillomavirus, including cervical, vaginal, anal, penile, and vulvar cancers, as well as cancers of the head and neck.
6. Get enough sleep
Obesity and diabetes are linked to insufficient or poor-quality sleep. Both of these diseases, in turn, increase your cancer risk. Some study has revealed that poor sleep may increase cancer risk on its own. Aim for seven to eight hours of excellent sleep every night. Regular exercise can aid in a better night's sleep.
7. Take precautions to protect the environment
Reduce your exposure to potentially hazardous substances wherever feasible. Some of the chemicals that might increase your cancer risk can be found in plastics and cosmetic products. Several compounds included in plastics, such as bisphenol A and phthalates, are concerning since long-term exposure has been linked to health problems. Avoid heating foods in plastic containers in the microwave and avoiding food wrapped in plastic if another option is available to reduce risk.
To prevent potentially harmful substances, choose carefully for cosmetic treatments and read labels. Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization, provides advice on which chemicals to avoid. Reduce the number of items you use on a regular basis to avoid unnecessary exposure.
Keep in mind, too, that while environmental hazards might accumulate over time, the actual cancer risk from these products is negligible. Don't get too worked up over what is probably a little dangerous compared to the risk of eating a poor diet and being sedentary.